Imagem card

José Carlos Cavalcanti Borges

Date Born.:

Psychiatric Doctor, Teacher, Actor


José Carlos Cavalcanti Borges

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 02/04/2018

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

He was born inthe city of Goiana, Pernambuco, on 15 March 1910, to José Carlos Cavalcanti Borges and Candida Correia de Oliveira Cavalcanti Borges.

Heattended primary schools in Goiana and the St Ignatius Jesuit School, in Rio de Janeiro. Returning to Pernambuco, he studied atthe Oswaldo Cruz and Carneiro Leão schools in Recife, where later he became Professor of Natural History, Psychology and Logic.

He graduatedin Medicine from the Recife Faculty of Medicine in 1933, and by obtaining first place in the public contest became a member of the Pernambuco State Department of Medical Assistance to Psychopaths of the.

Together with Ulysses Pernambucano, he foundedthe magazine Neurobiology, to which he contributed for many years.

With the study A personalidade de menores do Recife(The Personality of Minors of Recife) in the area of social psychology, he joined the Recife Faculty of Medicine as a professor in 1937, devoting himself to the teaching of psychiatry. He was also a professor of psychology at the Pernambuco School of Fine Arts.

From an early age, he contributed to various newspapers and literary supplements, including the Jornal do Brasil, Diario de Pernambuco, Jornal do Commercio (Recife), Correio da Manhã, Revista do Brasil, and A Voz de Goiana.

He wrote several short stories and plays, mainly comedies. Among his books are Neblina(Fog) (1940), prefaced by Graciliano Ramos, Padrão G( Standard G) (1948),Contos vários, Contos do céu e da terra(Several Tales, Tales of Heaven and Earth), published by Editora Massangana in 1978, and O assassino (The Killer) (1980), his last publication. His short stories Coração de Dona Iaiá (Dona Iaiá’s Heart) and Botão se fazendo rosa (Button Turning Rose), contained in the book Neblina (Fog), won the first two places in the National Short Story Contest, sponsored by the weekly literary Dom Casmurro in 1939.

Among his plays, which he classified as ‘municipal comedies’, ‘customs comedies’and ‘adaptation comedies’, the following stand out: in the first group, Acima do bem querer (Beyond WishingWell), Figuras de gente(Figures of People)andO eclipse (The Eclipse); in the group of the so called bad-customs comedies, Meu querido ladrão (MyDear Thief), As urnas vão rolar(The Polls will Roll), Tempestade de águabenta (Storm of Holy Water)andPé de vento(Wind Foot), the latter given an award by the Pernambuco School of Fine Arts in 1960 and winner of the Silvino Lopes Award, sponsored by the Pernambuco Section of the Brazilian Union of Writers, in 1964. Under the title of adaptation comedies are O caso do colar (The NecklaceCase), based on the story by Maupassant, O adereço (The Prop),Fogo morto( Dead Fire), from the novel by José Lins do Rego, Casa-grande & senzala(Masters & Slaves) by Gilberto Freyre and A flor e o fruto(The Flower and the Fruit), based on the novel Dom Casmurro, by Machado de Assis, which won the Claudio de SouzaTheatre Award from the Brazilian Academy of Letters in 1970. Another very important piece of great impact in the literary circles of the country was A comédia de Balzac (Balzac's comedy) about the French novelist.

He was elected to the Pernambuco Academy of Letters on 19 April 1956, taking his place on 25 November 1958.

He worked as an actor in the film Riacho do sangue (Blood Creek), produced in Pernambuco by Aurora Duarte Productions in 1966. He also participated in the film A compadecida (The Compassionate), produced by the same company in 1969, based on the homonymous play by Ariano Suassuna.

He was married to Yvonne Botelho da Silva Cavalcanti Borges, with whom he had three children: Marcelo, Tereza Cristina and Rosália Cavalcanti Borges.

He died on 11January 1983, in Recife.



Recife, 18 july 2003.
Updated on 28 august 2009.
Translated by Peter Leamy, March 2012.

sources consulted

TÁVORA, José Geraldo. Presença médica na Academia Pernambucana de Letras: 1921-1995. Recife: UFPE. Ed. Universitária, 1996.


how to quote this text

Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. José Carlos Cavalcanti Borges. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at:  <>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.